Some manufacturers of children’s products, including the foam interiors of mattresses and upholstered furniture, may have to reexamine their development strategies, now that Assembly Bill 2998 (Bloom) has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
Citing concerns over exposure to questionable chemicals, state lawmakers found that although the chemicals were not necessary for fire safety, flame retardant chemicals were being used in upholstered furniture and products geared for children. The chemicals in question have been associated with loss of IQ, attention problems, developmental problems, and adverse health effects.
The bill goes into effect on January 1, 2020, and prohibits any person from selling or distributing new, not previously owned products, used by children from infancy – bassinets, playmats, highchairs, infant carriers, and strollers – to age 12 that have been manufactured with or contain elements of most flame retardants at levels above 1,000 parts per million (ppm). Custom upholsterers are also prohibited from using replacement materials that contain flame retardant chemicals with levels exceeding 1,000 ppm for repairs or reupholstering furniture.
The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (BEARHFTI) is the regulatory body responsible for protecting California consumers by ensuring that manufacturers and retailers are following the bill’s requirements as specified.
Under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, BEARHFTI may also exert and enforce actions and assess and charge fines against licensees in violation of the statute.
Consumers wishing to file complaints against manufacturers or retailers may do so with the bureau here.
Note: Beginning January 1, 2019, BEARHFTI will change its name to the Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS).
This is a tough call. In a zeal to make kid’s furniture more safe in case of fire, chemicals are apparently being used on the furniture to act as fire retardant that in turn may have other side effects. Hopefully, a fair balance can be found here.